Barabara Weir was born at Bundy River Station in the Eastern Desert in 1945. Her mother, Minnie Pwerle, was about 18 years old at the time, and her father, Jack Weir, was an Irish cattle station owner. He birth resulted in her father’s imprisonment, and despite her Mother's best efforts she was forcibly removed from her mother by the native welfare department at nine years of age. She spent much of her early years between various foster families. She was able to reconnect with her family in Utopia although it was a difficult process as her mother had not shared her story with any of Barbara's younger siblings and Barbara could not communicate in Anamtjerre/Alyawarre language.
It was her Auntie, Emily Kngwarreye, who had helped her to return to live in Utopia after the breakdown of her marriage in Darwin in 1977. Reconnecting with her mother had given her the opportunity to learn about her language and culture and she was encouraged to paint her bush medicine stories including the finely executed "grasses" that seem to shift in the wind much like Gloria Petyarre's paintings.
As many of the other women had done, Barbara Weir began working in Batik in the late 1980's, and traveled to Indonesia in 1994 with a group of artists to attend workshops in the medium. She began by painting the grass seed stories with fine dots, later transitioning to the acrylic paint that allowed her to explore more with colour and texture and express the native grass story with thick brushstrokes in a linear pattern.
Barbara Weir now divides her time between Adelaide, Alice Springs, and regular visits to Utopia for painting workshops with her family. The workshops are run by her son, Fred Torres now also an artist. Although informal, they provide a medium through which materials are distributed to a number of Utopia artists in the absence of an arts centre in the community. While Torres also acts as Weir’s manager, Weir paints for several other reputable independent dealers.
Showing the single artwork